Economic Development

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The Tararua District is a rural district with the economy based largely on primary production. Agriculture is the predominant land use. In the eastern rolling to steep hill country, sheep meat and beef production are the main sources of income - while on the better classes of land in the central valley, dairy farming is increasing.

A small number of larger industries include meat processing and steel fabrication, and small-scale industries including cottage industries and home occupation are common.

Some sectors in an economy can be viewed as drivers of growth, such as agriculture, and others viewed as enablers or support sectors largely shaped by the size of driver sectors (for example, growing agriculture will grow the number of accountants and lawyers needed, but not vice versa).

The Tararua District is starting to see the physical evidence of economic recovery, and as this happens, they are seeing a much stronger appetite for strategy and business development - as well as a keen interest for the adoption of a long-term economic view from community groups, businesses and stakeholder groups in the district. 

To do this, Council is trying to help businesses help themselves. They are connecting businesses to Government funding and assistance.

Council tries to attract and retain people and businesses to the Tararua. As part of the Long Term Plan, Council is improving infrastructure and recreation facilities to support people and businesses.


“A growing and prosperous district providing a wide range of employment opportunities that is underpinned by highly efficient capable and affordable infrastructure.”


Tararua District is made up of five commercial centres including Pahiatua, Eketahuna, NorsewoodWoodville and Dannevirke. Its central location - between Napier Port, Manawatu and Wairarapa - makes it a nationally significant freight corridor. Tararua is an upcoming district with an increasing tourist trade. The Council has upgraded three of the four main townships with the fourth programmed in the Long Term Plan.  An attractive town centre not only increases local pride for residents and encourages new businesses to the district, it also attracts out of town travellers to stop, shop and have a bite to eat.

Water treatment and storage of water and wastewater disposal are priorities and improvements are already underway. At the same time, Council are working to improve the Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track.

All of New Zealand is struggling with the attraction of higher salaries in Australia, but Tararua remains a lovely and safe rural location, with major arterial roads and rail, close proximity to a major New Zealand distribution hub - as well as being extremely attractive to many people in the world - a haven of beauty, stability and safety.

The purpose of the Tararua District Council Economic Development Plan is to identify long-term growth goals to 2018 that will create a stronger district economy.
Council is working alongside local business - facilitating, enabling, supporting and linking to growth opportunities.
Learn about ongoing and upcoming opportunities for local and regional development.
Council has the ability to link local businesses to funding for business capabilities and research and development grants.
When looking at doing business, whether you are thinking of investing or launching a business yourself, you need to consider the area's statistics.